Book Review: Sidelined, Overcoming Odds through Unity, Passion, and Perseverance, by Chuck Pagano, with Bruce A. Tollner

Sidelined; Overcoming Odds through Unity, Passion, and Perseverance

by Chuck Pagano, with Bruce A. Tollner

Publisher: Zondervan (2014)

What’s it like to win your dream job, and then receive the news that you have cancer? Ask Chuck Pagano. The message is clear. Even on the darkest of days, those who remain faithful remain strong.

Shortly after reaching a lifelong goal of becoming a head coach in the National Football League, Pagano was given more life changing news. Diagnosed with leukemia during his first year with the Indianapolis Colts, Coach Pagano had to rely on his family and new team to help him overcome the potentially life threatening disease.

Unsure of the team’s reaction, he continued to coach from his hospital bed through phone calls, text messages, and emails. Chuck’s determination and drive were nothing new to the players on his team. As the effects of chemotherapy took their toll, Pagano’s team kept reminding him of his own words, “Trust, Loyalty, and Respect” – they would mean so much more by the end of the season.

While reading Sidelined, I was continually inspired by the “pep talks” of Pagano’s trusted friend, Kevin Elko. These nuggets of wisdom are expertly woven among the game day recaps and the updates on Pagano’s physical status during the course of the disease and the effects of its treatment. Elko’s (Elks as Pagano refers to him) ability to use scripture to inspire determination is essential in Pagano’s defensive lineup against leukemia.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a football fan, going through a rough patch in everyday life, or facing the unknown through illness. It’s a helpful reminder that one must not give in to one’s condition, and to use your faith as a guide for living.


I received this book for free from in exchange for my honest review.